Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Razorbacks beat Texas in baseball season opener
Arkansas shortstop John Bolton is shown prior to a game against Texas on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.
ARLINGTON, Texas — A season-opening pitching duel was interrupted by a flurry of seventh-inning runs Friday night at Globe Life Field.
The sixth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks were just a little bit better in the inning than the 24th-ranked Texas Longhorns.
A one-out RBI double by shortstop John Bolton was the difference as Arkansas won 3-2 in front of an announced crowd of 15,721 in the Day 1 nightcap at the College Baseball Showdown.
Bolton’s second hit of the game scored Jace Bohrofen from second base to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead. It came two at-bats after Kendall Diggs broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single past Texas third baseman Jalin Flores with the bases loaded and no outs.
Brady Slavens and Jared Wegner singled to lead off the inning, and scored on Diggs’ hit. Bohrofen drew a walk after unsuccessfully attempting to advance the runners with a bunt.
Arkansas (1-0) missed on an opportunity to do more damage when Peyton Stovall and Caleb Cali — the Nos. 2 and 3 hitters in the lineup — struck out against Texas left-hander Chris Stuart, who entered the game after right-hander Lebarron Johnson allowed the back-to-back singles to start the inning.
Texas (0-1) answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Three-hole hitter Porter Brown homered on the 10th pitch of an at-bat against Arkansas right-handed reliever Cody Adcock, and Garret Guillemette chased Adcock with a double in the next at-bat.
Right-hander Koty Frank nearly got out of the jam for the Razorbacks, but he threw a wild pitch in a 2-2 count with two outs, which allowed Guilemette to score from third base and cut Arkansas’ lead to 3-2.
Both teams missed on scoring chances in the eighth inning. Slavens doubled to lead off for Arkansas, but was stranded at third base when Hudson Polk grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Texas’ Peyton Powell and Eric Kennedy singled with one out against Frank in the eighth. Right-hander Brady Tygart stranded both runners in scoring position by striking out the Longhorns’ two- and three-hole hitters, Dylan Campbell and Brown.
Tygart, last year’s primary closer when he was a Freshman All-American, retired the Longhorns in order in the ninth inning to earn his ninth career save.
Neither starting pitcher allowed a run in five innings. Texas left-hander Lucas Gordon allowed 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 6, and Arkansas lefty Hagen Smith allowed 1 hit, walked 2 and struck out 8.
Both pitchers were backed up by strong defensive plays. Arkansas second baseman Peyton Stovall and the shortstop Bolton teamed up for double plays after the Longhorns put their lead-off man aboard in the first and second innings.
Campbell, the Texas right fielder, robbed Arkansas’ Tavian Josenberger of a potential RBI hit with a great running catch in the third.
Smith walked Guilemette and Jack O’Dowd to start the bottom of the fifth inning, but escaped when Jared Thomas and Jalin Flores struck out with runners in scoring position. That ended his 68-pitch outing that included 44 strikes.
Arkansas is scheduled to play 17th-ranked TCU on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Horned Frogs defeated No. 9 Vanderbilt 11-4 on Friday.
Arkansas 3, Texas 2 — Middle 9th Inning
Peyton Stovall reached on a two-out throwing error by the shortstop and went to second base on a wild pitch, but he was stranded when Caleb Cali struck out.
Brady Tygart is coming back to the mound trying to notch a save.
Arkansas 3, Texas 2 — End 8th Inning
Brady Tygart came in from the bullpen to strike out the Longhorns' two- and three-hole hitters — Dylan Campbell and Porter Brown — with two Texas runners on base. A double steal on a 0-2 pitch with two outs left both runners stranded in scoring position.
Peyton Powell and Eric Kennedy had back-to-back singles against Koty Frank to set up the leverage situation for Tygart.
Arkansas 3, Texas 2 — Middle 8th Inning
Brady Slavens doubled to the wall in right-center field to lead off the eighth, but he was stranded at third base when Hudson Polk grounded into a fielder's choice with runners on the corners.
Kendall Diggs reached with a two-out hit by pitch.
Arkansas is just 2 for 11 tonight with runners in scoring position.
Arkansas 3, Texas 2 — End 7th Inning
Don't count out the Longhorns yet.
Porter Brown homered to right field to end a 10-pitch at-bat against Cody Adcock to lead off the bottom of the seventh, and Garrett Guilemette followed with a double down the left-field line to send the Razorbacks back to the bullpen.
Koty Frank, the right-handed transfer from Nebraska, replaced Adcock and nearly got out of the jam, but allowed a second run when he threw a two-strike, two-out wild pitch with Guilemette at third base.
Frank did a great job of keep Guilemette at third base when Mitchell Daly grounded back to the mound for the second out of the inning.
Arkansas 3, Texas 0 — Middle 7th Inning
The Razorbacks have had a breakthrough in the seventh.
Brady Slavens and Jared Wegner singled to lead off, then Jace Bohrofen drew a full-count walk after unsuccessfully trying to advance the runners with a bunt.
Kendall Diggs smoked a single past the third baseman to score two runs with no outs and break the tie. John Bolton followed with a one-out RBI double to left field to score another run.
Arkansas loaded the bases again when Tavian Josenberger drew a one-out walk, but missed an opportunity for a huge inning when Peyton Stovall and Caleb Cali struck out in consecutive at-bats to strand three.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 6th Inning
What a wild way for the sixth inning to end.
Dylan Campbell had a 2-2 count against Arkansas right-hander Cody Adcock when he was rung up by home plate umpire Doug Williams for not getting into the box quick enough.
That ended a 1-2-3 frame for Adcock, who struck out two.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 6th Inning
These teams are making all the plays when needed.
Caleb Cali hit into a 6-4-3 double play after the Razorbacks put two runners on with one out. Tavian Josenberger singled at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat and Peyton Stovall walked in the next at-bat.
Hagen Smith's night is over for the Razorbacks and Cody Adcock is Arkansas' first out of the bullpen. Adcock is a junior who began his career at Ole Miss.
Smith's final line: 5 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 5th Inning
This big Arkansas crowd just let out a huge roar as Hagen Smith worked around two walks to lead off the fifth inning.
They were stranded at second and third base and it is scoreless going to the sixth.
Smith walked Garrett Guilemette is four pitches to start the inning, then walked Jack O'Dowd after O'Dowd showed bunt. That drew a mound visit from pitching coach Matt Hobbs.
Mitchell Daly bunted both runners over, but Smith struck out Jared Thomas and Jalin Flores to get out of the jam.
Texas starter Lucas Gordon will sit after five scoreless innings and 84 pitches. He allowed 2 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 6.
Right-hander Lebarron Johnson is the first out of the bullpen for the Longhorns.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 5th Inning
Arkansas went down in order against Lucas Gordon in the fifth inning. Jace Bohrofen struck out before fly outs by Kendall Diggs and Hudson Polk.
Neither team has had a base runner since the top of the third inning. Both pitchers have settled in for an unlikely duel on Opening Night.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 4th Inning
The story through four scoreless innings might be pitch efficiency. Lucas Gordon has thrown 73 pitches for Texas, compared to 45 for Hagen Smith.
Those are notable numbers on the first night when pitchers are still building up their count.
Smith struck out the Longhorns' 1-2-3 hitters in the fourth inning and has still faced the minimum. That brings his strikeout total to six.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 4th Inning
Caleb Cali and Brady Slavens struck out, and Texas first baseman Jared Thomas snapped a line-drive hot shot by Jared Wegner during the fourth inning.
Slavens' at-bat was eight pitches, driving up Lucas Gordon's pitch count more. It sits at 73 now and the Longhorns have movement in the bullpen.
Gordon has five strikeouts.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 3rd Inning
Hagen Smith struck out two batters in his first 1-2-3 inning of the night. He has faced the minimum through three innings.
He continues to pitch with great efficiency — 34 pitches the first time through the lineup. We don't know what his pitch count will be tonight, but it will likely be in the 70-75 range.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 3rd Inning
Texas right fielder Dylan Campbell might have saved a run in the third when he ran down a drive by Tavian Josenberger to right field. It did not look like Campbell would get there when the ball came off the bat, but he covered a lot of ground and made the catch with his arm fully extended.
That forced John Bolton to retreat to first base after a lead-off hit. Bolton likely would have scored had the ball dropped.
Peyton Stovall hit into a double play to end the inning.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 2nd Inning
The Razorbacks' middle infield of John Bolton and Peyton Stovall has turned double plays after Texas put the lead-off man aboard in both innings.
Garret Guillemette reached on an error by third baseman Caleb Cali to start the second inning, but Jack O'Dowd bounced into a 6-4-3 double play in the next at-bat.
The inning ended when Mitchell Daly flied out to center field.
Hagen Smith has been efficient with just 22 pitches through two innings. Both teams have one hit.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 2nd Inning
The Razorbacks were potentially one pitch away from a big inning after Jared Wegner walked and Jace Bohrofen singled with one out.
Kendall Diggs got ahead of Lucas Gordon 3-1, but Gordon battled back to strike him out and avoid loading the bases. Hudson Polk struck out to end the inning.
That was a tough inning on Gordon's pitch count, which is already up to 40 through two innings.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — End 1st Inning
Peyton Stovall began a 4-6-3 double play to end the first inning, drawing a loud ovation from this big Arkansas crowd.
Eric Kennedy singled to center field to lead off for the Longhorns. Hagen Smith struck out Dylan Campbell for the first out, then Porter Brown hit a grounder to Stovall.
Brady Slavens is due up first for the Razorbacks in the second inning.
Arkansas 0, Texas 0 — Middle 1st Inning
The Razorbacks went down in order against Texas lefty Lucas Gordon.
Tavian Josenberger was out on a bang-bang play at first base on a ball hit deep into the hole at shortstop, Peyton Stovall flied out to right field and Caleb Cali struck out on a 3-2 pitch.
Hagen Smith, who grew up attending Texas Rangers games at the ballpark across the street, is taking the mound now.
The 2023 baseball season is almost underway!
There is a large crowd forming inside Globe Life Field for tonight's nightcap between the Razorbacks and the Longhorns. It would not surprise if the attendance is announced in the range of 15,000 or more.
Arkansas will be the designated home team tonight and will wear its red uniforms and white pants. Texas is wearing white uniforms with what hats that have orange bills.
The Razorbacks are looking to become the first SEC team to win at this event. Oklahoma State defeated Missouri 5-3, and TCU defeated Vanderbilt 11-4 in the earlier games.
Here is Arkansas' starting lineup, which lines up with how the Razorbacks scrimmaged:
Hagen Smith, a sophomore left-hander, will start on the mound for Arkansas. Junior left-hander Lucas Gordon will get the ball for Texas.
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